Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time For Bed

Well, another gardening season is coming to a close and it's time to say goodbye to my good flowery friends and wish them a nice, long, safe slumber. This time of year always makes me a bit melancholy, especially so this year as I am preparing to leave my garden for awhile to travel around on a great adventure, so I've let them stay up way past their normal bedtime. Now, some (i.e. the responsible ones), have already put themselves to bed and are snoozing away in their dormancy, but my roses are like giggly girls at a slumber party and I finally had to go out there and tuck them in and turn out the lights.

Armed with my trusty tools, I headed out into the garden one last time. Now, I know parents are not supposed to have favorites but I will admit that roses absolutely drop me to my knees. When healthy and in full-bloom, they are heartbreakingly beautiful and come in so many luscious colors and scents it's like trying to pick a ball-gown and a favorite perfume when I'm contemplating my next purchase. Ok, yes, they are a bit high maintenance (especially in Montana) but my roses at the end of the season remind me of a queen who has fallen on hard times. Her dress might be a bit tattered and torn from frost, aphids and powdery mildew but she valiantly fights off marauding dogs with her thorns and sends up blooms so gorgeous that there is no question who rules this garden. And as any good serf will, though it's time-consuming, back-breaking work, I gladly kneel at their feet and help them prepare for slumber.

I certainly wasn't alone, either, as I plucked, pruned and raked away. It was a rare sunny, slightly warm day so lots of the neighbors were also out getting ready to button down for the winter. My "challenging" neighbor, the one who is noisy and gregarious with absolutely no boundaries when it comes to helping himself from my garden or inviting himself in to my home, popped his head in to see if I might have any garden leftovers that he could have.

I took a break when he showed up and admired the handiwork on his own little abode. What is it about squirrels' nests that make them look so cozy? As the sun dropped and my little neighbor made his way home, I imagined him snuggled up tight in his little tree house.

Then one of my favorite neighbors dropped in for a little chit-chat and some preening.

And, of course the supervisors were on duty.

( Obviously, the grueling work schedule wore them out.)

So, another year has come and gone. My seedlings, the ones I worried and fussed over, are now done, the tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuce, etc long since a distant memory and tonight I pulled the last of the carrots. Since the roses have finally gone to bed and the rest of the flowers are safely sleeping, I guess I can put down my pruning shears and call it a day. Goodnight, my friends, sweet dreams and I'll see you soon!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Stories and Stones

Missoula Cemetery

It's a rainy Saturday morning, cold and damp with snow swirling on the higher peaks around us, so I figured I'd grab my fuzzy slippers and another cup of espresso and settle down to blog.

And this blog is going to be about one of our local Missoula treasures...the Missoula Cemetery.

What?!! A cemetery?!, you might exclaim but I say, Yes, a cemetery! Established in 1884, not only is it a lovely place for an afternoon stroll with its ornate headstones and rows of big, old maples but at least once a year, it's as if your history book comes alive.

Every Fall, volunteers bring to life the stories of deceased patrons. From the Missoula Madam, Mary Gleim, to Missoula's very own serial killer, Wayne Nance, to Missoula's founding fathers which range from architects to Civil War soldiers and, of course, the one I'm most fascinated with, Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress in a time before women even had the right to vote! Heck, to this day, we even have a lovely store dedicated to her and her pursuit of peace, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center. And, might I add, this makes it all the more dear to my heart after taking part in the most exciting election I have had the honor of participating in...Yes, we can! May our President-Elect carry us gracefully through a new era of peace, compassion and hopefulness. But, I digress...

My good friend Lori, and her daughters, Emily and Audrey, accompanied me on this Fall afternoon to Stories and Stones at the Missoula Cemetery. It was a gorgeous autumn day and we all had a lovely time kicking our way through fallen leaves as we wandered around with the other Missoulians listening to the stories of lives from long ago. There were hay rides to be taken and goodies to be nibbled and they even provided the kids with paper and crayons so they could make etchings of the stones.

Emily making an engraving

This is one of the many reasons I love this little town I live in. Friends and neighbors getting together in a postcard perfect setting to celebrate the lives we share now and the lives of those who came before us. Thanks Lori, Emily and Audrey for sharing your time, stories and smiles with me!


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